Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Camp Galileo: Inspiring Creativity

Photo credit: Galileo Learning

If you knew of a program that could give your child the tools to be creative, to be an inventor, to be an innovator, would you send them? I was recently introduced to a camp that believes they can do just that, Camp Galileo. And you know what, I believe they can too.

Before I share about this camp, there are a few things you should know. I was asked if I would do a series of posts on my site in return for free camp tuition. Most of you know I rarely do reviews. I don't write posts just so I can get freebies either. It really has to be something I believe in and something I think you can benefit from. The reason I'm writing about this camp is because their mission and philosophy is truly at the core of what I believe. To develop innovators who envision and create a better world.

When I visited the Galileo Learning website, I was impressed with the classes: Digital Photography, Fashion Design, Inventors, Go Kart Makers, Video Game Design, and Lego Robotics just to name a few. My inner child was screaming, "I want to take these classes! Oh-My-Gosh, is she making an orange leather dress? Where were these classes when I was a child?!" I thought this was a pretty cool camp but I really didn't grasp what they were trying to accomplish until I visited their headquarters. I believe after reading this, it will give you a new perspective on how you look at camp and what you want your children to gain from it.

Galileo Learning is an education summer camp for Pre-K through 8th grade located in the Bay Area, CA. They offer four camps which include Camp Galileo, Galileo Summer Quest, The Tech Summer Camps, and Chabot Space & Science Camp. I'm not going to get into the class activities today but rather what they are trying to accomplish through them.

Like most camps, they started out with a focus on activities and soon realized their true vision was on teaching a deeper level of skills to children. Now if you're like me, you're thinking that sounds great but how are you going to accomplish this?

During my meeting with the staff, I learned about their Galileo Innovation Approach. This approach is integrated into the camp curriculum or art, science and outdoor play. I could write about it but I think these graphics will explain it better.

(click on images for a larger view)

But they didn't just give examples of what their approach was. They also gave examples of how the children were using these skills after camp. One example was given of a kindergartner that dropped her ball down a storm drain. She came to her mom and told her about the problem and that she had created a plan for getting it out. It was obvious to the parent that camp Galileo had given her daughter the confidence to problem solve for real life. Before camp, the girl probably would have just asked her mother to get the ball instead.

After taking everything in, I knew this was something I wanted my kids to be involved in. Galileo Learning's philosophy spoke to what I've been trying to teach and instill in my children; they are creative and they have the power to turn their ideas into reality.

So I'm curious, have you ever heard of a camp like this before? What do think of their approach? I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions. I'll be responding back in the comments.

If this camp sounds like something you would be interested in, please visit the Galileo Learning site for more information. They also have a lot of great deals going on such as refer a friend and save $40.


Danna said...

Our school district used to offer this program for free during the summer here. My son loved it. However, with budget cuts a couple of years ago, they no longer offer it.

It was a good program that kept him interested and busy for several weeks during the summer. I miss that they don't have it here anymore.

Dizzy Broad said...

My son attended this camp a few years ago and both my husband and I agreed that it's mostly geared towards families who need summer day care :(. The intended mission is great but unfortunately, the actual curriculum fell flat. The counselors are made up of college students and many times when I'd come early to "observe" found many of them socializing with each other and kids seemed to just be doing busy work. My son did come home with art work but he complained that he didn't have enough time to complete many of the projects because too many badly behaving children that took up a lot of the counselor's time (hence, babysitting service). We felt our money is better used elsewhere. Perhaps for much older children this is great but for younger children - better off getting a sitter.

tamdoll said...

I have never heard of a camp like this, and it sounds amazing. The first thing I looked for after reading the description was the location... CA!! Too far for me. And my kids are probably too old by now - but it sounds like a fantastic experience. Anything that makes kids use their brains is great.

Zakka Life said...

Dizzy Broad,

Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing your experience with us. I appreciate you being honest too. I think what you had to say is always a big concern for parents. I know it is for me.

From what I've read, I know they are particular about who they hire (less than 10% are invited to join the team). I'm hopeful they have become stricter in the hiring process through the years. We'll see what happens and I will definitely be reporting back good or bad. But I'm hoping for good!

Zakka Life said...


There's the possibility they will expand to other areas :)

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